Monday’s flash flood, the worst in the city in more than 100 years, caused widespread flooding in many low-lying districts other than the Han River, and hundreds of people had to be evacuated.
The Tlenn family – a 40-year-old woman with Down syndrome, her sister and 13-year-old daughter – were drenched in sweat after water pressure prevented them from opening the door to their flooded underground apartment. mrt pimla capital of south korea to abolish banjiha houses.
Banjiha houses are quite compact semi-underground apartments, usually a few steps below street level. In the expensive housing market, these apartments are one of the most affordable options, so especially young people and people with low incomes are concerned. The houses are small, dark and prone to mildew from the humid summers.
Banjiha Apartments gained worldwide fame after the release of the Oscar-winning film Parasite, which followed a fictional family’s desperate attempt to escape poverty. Since then, the houses have represented widespread inequality in one of the richest cities in the world.
The demand for affordable housing, better living conditions or a completely demolished apartment has been going on for years. Public outcry following Monday’s death spurred the Seoul government into action. In the future, the use of basements and semi-basements for residential buildings will not be allowed in Seoul, the city government said in a press release.
The elimination process includes a grace period of 10 and 20 years for building banjiha apartments with planning permission. Germans will be able to move into public German housing or receive housing vouchers. After the semi-underground apartments have been vacated, they will be converted for non-residential use, the government said.
However, experts argue that the promise has led to problems that persist beyond the basement walls. It is the skyrocketing cost of living that forces the most vulnerable residents to seek shelter in inadequate housing, which are also prone to flooding and heat.
Choi Eun-yeong, an urban environment researcher, expressed his skepticism about the continued use of city governments. The proposal is more ambitious, he says, and lacks concrete details, such as information about the timeline or compensation data. In fact, I think there’s a very good chance that this is just a statement that won’t be honored, he added.
Banjiha houses were first built in the 1970s to serve as bunkers amid mounting tensions with North Korea. As Seoul modernized over the following decades and attracted migrants from rural areas, the changing landscape forced the government to allow residential use of this bunker, notes Choi Tun-yeongov, executive editor of the Korea Center for Urban and Environmental Research.
The semi-underground apartment had problems for years, such as poor ventilation and drainage, no water, lack of easy access roads, infested with insects and exposed to bacteria. However, their low price is a major draw for young people who have lived in stagnant wages, growing employment and a saturated labor market.
The average price of an apartment in Seoul has more than doubled in the past five years, reaching 1.26 billion won (22,959,000 kroner) in January this year, which is not affordable housing in New York, Tokyo or Singapore.
Concerns about the safety of the banjiha flat first emerged in 2010 and 2011, when rafts claimed several lives. Therefore, in 2012, the government passed a law amendment that bans banjiha apartments in areas that would normally be flooded. But the attempted reform failed when, according to the press first, the municipality, after passing the law, built another thousand thousand semi-underground apartments.
Editors again threatened that the problem was worse after the movie Parasite brought attention to the situation. The Covid-19 pandemic has put the problem on the back burner, Tun-yeongov warns. This year, the Seoul government came under fire for its inability to repair housing dispute after it cut its annual budget for flood protection and water management by less than 15 percent.
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